Kjell Jonevret Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Kjell Jonevret says his side will need to step up a notch from their previous performances if they are to stand a chance of beating PSL table-topping Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium on Thursday (kick-off 7.30pm).

As it stands, the Sea Robbers suffered one defeat in six games in all competitions – Free State Stars beat them 3-2 a few weeks ago. They won four wins and drawn three.

The Sweden-born coach warns that his side would need to be extra vigilant if they are to come out unscathed in this match-up as Wits have recently shown that they are serious title contenders, following their 1-0 victory over defending champs Mamelodi Sundowns on Monday night. Wits have 51 points.

After the Wits tie, Pirates host Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on Sunday and Jonevret, who was speaking at the Carling Black Label launch at Park Station in downtown Joburg on Tuesday, said he was anticipating a tough week.

“Playing Wits is going to be a test for us,” Jonevret admitted. “In our last four matches, we played against sides where everybody expected us to go out there and win. This time it is going to be different. We’ll be playing against probably one of the best two teams (Wits and Sundowns) in the league at the moment.

“We are going into these two encounters as underdogs. It’s going to be interesting to see how we cope with the challenge of having to face them in such a short space of time. It’s going to be interesting to watch.”

Asked if he thought his side stood a chance of finishing in the top eight, now that they are eighth on the PSL standings with 31 points and five league games to go, Jonevret said: “You can’t be sure of anything. I was surprised to see Maritzburg United pull out a win against Cape Town City. It looks like it’s going to be a race between us and Arrows (for a place in the top eight). We have to win a few more games, we know that. But I can’t start worrying about that now.

“We play Arrows in our last league fixture, and perhaps that encounter will serve as a decider in terms of who will secure a top eight finish. But my focus is centred on us going out there and playing a good brand of football against Wits (Thursday). I can’t start thinking too much about our league table now.”

Jonevret said: “At training, I always say to them, ‘back to basics’ and immediately they know which areas they need to drop back and close. It’s a marathon, really, and we’ll continue to work on (the defensive play). Conceding has cost us a few points.”


The Star

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